Fabian Zetterlund – Restricted Free Agent
Fabian Zetterlund has looked quite good since joining the Devils a little over a week ago. He scored the first goal of his NHL career against the Arizona Coyotes, and he has two multi-point games in his last four. Zetterlund looks like an NHL player this year after putting up a team-leading 52 points in 58 AHL games for the Utica Comets.
Zetterlund might be a good bet for the NHL team, but it’s hardly a guarantee. However, the Devils have to consider whether he deserves a guarantee this offseason. Will the team give him a one-way deal? Are they ready to make that kind of commitment to Zetterlund?
That puts the Devils in an interesting spot. Zetterlund is not a player most fans considered a player that was locked into this team’s young core. At the beginning of the season, most fans were surprised he was getting even a shot in the NHL. Now, he looks like a player who can be in the bottom six for a long time. The way Zetterlund plays gets fans excited. They like his ability and the fact he embraces whatever role he’s given. He even got to play on the first line at times this week.
The Devils are going to bring Zetterlund back, but they have to decide whether it’s right to make him a locked-in NHL player. He has proven himself over the last week and a half, but is that enough when it comes to contract negotiations? Will they take his play in Utica into account? There is a lot to this contract negotiation that on paper seems more open and shut.